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McIlroy recovers from a quadruple bogey to keep two-shot lead at Dubai Invitational

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy - The Candian Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Rory McIlroy recovered from a quadruple bogey to shoot a 1-under 70 Friday and maintain the lead at the halfway point of the Dubai Invitational.

The No. 2-ranked Northern Irishman sank a nearly 30-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 16th and finished the second round with a two-stroke lead on 10-under 132 overall at Dubai Creek Resort.

Jeff Winther (66) bogeyed the 18th and joined Yannik Paul (70) in a tie for second place at the European tour event.

McIlroy had surprised himself with a first-round 62 and added back-to-back birdies on the third and fourth holes Friday.

Then came the par-3 eighth.

McIlroy pulled his tee shot into the water and hit nearly the same spot from the drop zone. He put his fifth shot onto the green but needed two putts.

“If I look at the other 17 holes that I played — I played very, very well again,” McIlroy said. “I felt like I did well just to get my head back into it and play some solid golf on the way in. It's nice to go into the weekend still with the lead.”

McIlroy made birdies on the the 10th, 13th and 16th.

“I gave myself chances most of the back nine, which was nice," he said, "and I was able to convert a couple of them before that tough finishing stretch there on 17 and 18.”

Jordan Smith (67), Zander Lombard (68), Tommy Fleetwood (69), Thorbjorn Olesen (69) and Thriston Lawrence (70) were all three shots off the lead.

McIlroy sees the Dubai Invitational — a tournament in a relaxed setting, with no cut and a 60-man field — as a gentle way to ease into 2024. He once lived in Dubai and often visits early in the year to fine-tune his game.


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